John Axton's Medicine Bow Snow
The American buffalo in its natural state is a gregarious and migratory animal that,
by 1870, was driven to near extinction in what is now the Cheyenne National Forest, according to information gathered from conversation with the Indians and trappers who about the
middle of the last century made this forest and its vicinity their home. Until 1841 the North Platte valley and the Medicine Bow mountains had been home to vast herds that grazed in the mountains during summer and in the valleys during winter. The winter snow of 1841 covered the region to depth of 5 feet from December until April, and the majority of the buffalo
died from starvation.Thousands of their skulls still remain scattered over North Park and the Platte valley. After that time there were only a few small bands that made this their summer and winter home. The annual destruction by native and non-native hunters gradually decreased their numbers from 1841 to 1880, when the remaining buffalo were rounded up by a band of Ute Indians and slaughtered John Axton's original oil painting, Medicine Bow, depicts one heroic survivor.